Low Fat Diet: The Craze That Backfired

The Low Fat Diet industry is worth billions of dollars. For nearly 30 years, manufacturers have been pumping out a plethora of Low Fat food options in every food category imaginable.

The only problem they’ve faced is that the food tastes like crap. It is Fat after all, that gives food it’s flavour.

So, what have they done to inject taste into their products? Yes, they have added sugar. Fortunately for the manufacturers, sugar is a carbohydrate. So they are able to pump as much of it into their so called health foods – and still label it as Low Fat.

The Low Fat Diet Craze

The Low Fat diet fad was at it’s peak during the 1980’s and ‘90’s. During that time dietary Fat consumption was dramatically reduced. You would have expected the obesity rate, along with people’s general health to have improved accordingly.

Yet, just the opposite happened. People kept getting fatter and fatter. In fact, 2011/12 in Australia alone over 5 million adults over the age of 18 were overweight. (1)

What’s even more concerning is this statistic; In Australia, since 1995 we have had an increase by 47% in obesity by 2012. (1)

What went wrong?

Switching Poisons

What went wrong is that people simply replaced Fat with Sugar. Furthermore that belief the they were doing something good for themselves by cutting Fat led to a kind of placebo effect.

People thought they could eat as much as they wanted of the Fat free foods without any serious consequences. Clearly they were wrong.

Sugar, you see, is a far greater contributor to obesity, diabetes and heart disease than Fat ever was or will be.

A popular Low Fat diet doing the rounds is the Special K diet, which is built around the Kellogs cereal of that name. It basically involves eating nothing but Special K – all day.

The People at Special K state that this diet should be seen as a quick fix weight loss booster and not a long-term healthy eating plan. That’s just as well – it may be low in Fat, but it’s high in sugar. In fact, starting the day with a bowl of Special K and Low Fat milk, will give you more sugar than a bowl of ice cream.

The Low Fat diet has certain food recommendations which we know are of questionable value. These include vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are connected with inflammation and heart disease.

The diet also recommends whole wheat. However, many people are sensitive to wheat gluten, the symptoms of which include fatigue, stomach upset and bloating.

You Need Fat

A Low Fat diet is anything under 10% of total calories. That means that on a Low Fat diet a person who is taking in 2,300 calories per day, will be taking a maximum of just 26 grams of fat.

However, the body desperately needs certain fats in order to attain to optimum health and functioning. These good Fats are inevitably casualties of the Low Fat obsession.

A deficiency in essential fatty acids can cause a long list of health issues, including skin and hair problems, joint pain, fatigue, depression, cardiovascular disease, and reduced metabolism. Low fat diets are also linked to low testosterone levels.

Summary

  • Low fat food products are packed with sugar
  • Low fat diets recommend vegetable oils which are generally not recommended by dieticians
  • Low fat diets deprive the body of healthy fats, such as essential fatty acids
  • Check with your health practitioner for the correct amount for you

References

(1) http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Factsheet-Overweight-and-obesity.pdf

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